Mandatory weekly rest day for Domestic Workers - ANISYA

Mandatory weekly rest day for Domestic Workers

Effective from 1 January 2013, all employment contracts (including renewals of contract) are to include a mandatory rest-day for domestic workers.

Employers who fail to do so would be in breach of the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations. The current maximum penalty for a breach of the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations is a fine of up to S$5,000 and/ or a jail term of up to 6 months.

Full details of this new ruling can be found in this link from the MOM website

For FDWs seeking assistance or advice on well-being issues, or if you are reporting a situation where the FDW is in distress, you may call our helpline for Distressed FDWs at 1800 339 5505 (or +65 6339 5505 for overseas callers).

Here are some excerpts from the document related to commonly asked questions:

If I renew my FDW’s work permit after 1 Jan 2013, will I need to sign a new employment contract with new rest day provisions in it? What would the rest day arrangements be if I do not sign a new employment contract with her?
For Work Permit renewals after 1 Jan 2013, we would encourage employers to sign a new employment contract that makes clear the rest day arrangement that employers and FDWs have mutually agreed upon in line with the new Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations (EFMR). If there is no valid employment contract, the rest day arrangement would follow the rest day requirements as stated in the EFMR.

If a new employment contract is not signed after the Work Permit is renewed after 1 Jan 2013, the rest day arrangement within the existing employment contract will only be valid if it is in line with the new EFMR. If it is not, the rest day arrangement would follow the requirements in the EFMR from the point of the FDW’s Work Permit renewal.

Must the FDW’s rest day fall on a Sunday?
No. We intend to allow employers and FDWs to mutually agree which day of the week they want the rest day to fall on. To avoid disputes, employers and FDWs may wish to agree in writing on a fixed day of the week as the rest day. We intend to allow employers to compensate FDWs with a replacement rest day within the month if FDWs opt for compensation in-lieu of a rest day.

How will the rate of compensation in-lieu for a weekly rest day be calculated for FDWs? Will I be allowed to pay my FDW $20 compensation in-lieu per month to forgo all of her rest days?
FDWs will be entitled to a weekly rest day. If the employer and FDW mutually agree to opt for compensation in-lieu, the compensation rate must at least be the FDW’s daily wage for each rest day. This is payable on top of her monthly salary. The FDW’s daily wage is calculated by dividing her monthly salary by 26 working days.

Some employers have family members who may require constant attention. How are they supposed to give FDWs a weekly rest day?

Employers with genuine difficulties giving FDWs a weekly rest day have the option to:

  •  Mutually agree upon which day of the week the rest day should fall, so  that the employer can make alternative care arrangements in advance; or
  • Mutually agree with the FDW to opt for compensation in-lieu of a rest day.

To help Singaporean families who hire FDWs to care for young children, elderly and disabled family members, the Government has given a FDW Levy concession per month to such employers. These families pay a concessionary levy of $60 instead of the full FDW levy of $300.

Will the security bond of $5,000 that employers of FDWs have to place with the Government in order to hire an FDW be forfeited if the FDW violates Work Permit conditions or runs away on her rest day?
The security bond is imposed on employers of all foreign work permit holders to ensure that employers remain responsible for the well-being and eventual repatriation of their workers. These conditions are made known upfront to employers in the Work Permit conditions when they apply for a Work Permit.

MOM does not forfeit employers’ security bonds if the FDW violates her own Work Permit conditions, for instance if she moonlights on a rest day or gets pregnant.

Even in extreme cases where the FDW absconds and cannot be located, only half the security bond will be forfeited as long as the employer has made reasonable effort to locate the FDW.

In reality, MOM forfeits very few security bonds each year. Since the new security bond conditions were introduced in 2010, no security bonds have been forfeited in full for missing FDWs.

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Frequently Asked Questions by Employers


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